Tell me where to eat in Paris.
August 3, 2011 12:06 PM   Subscribe

Where should we eat in Paris? My fiancé and I are heading to Paris for our honeymoon in October. We like eating out and we're looking for awesome dining experiences. We tend to enjoy places that are delicious but unpretentious. We don't like "scenes". We really like, but certainly aren't limited to, gastropubs.

I'm sure we'll end up dropping into a fair share of random corner joints for steak frites and such, but we'd also like to find some places that are worth seeking out for some nice dinners on the town.

Classic and regional French cuisine would be great, but we'd rather not eat it in a place that's surviving on reputation rather than continuing greatness. New-school bistro/"bistronomy" would also be great—we've heard terrific things about Frenchie, Chez l'Ami Louis, Le Comptoir du Relais, Spring, and others, but really have no idea where to target. Really, any type of food is on the table (pun intended), as long as it's delicious and the atmosphere is good, because in general, lack of stuffiness is pretty important to us.

Either side of 50 Euros per person would be our preferred max for a few meals, and probably less for the rest, but if someplace is great, we could splurge.

That said, we'd also like maybe one really nice place for which I can put on my suit and her her cocktail dress and go out for a super-nice dinner without feeling overdressed.

We're also always on the lookout for a good cocktail or whiskey bar a la The Franklin Mortgage and Investment Co. (Philly), Death & Co. (NYC), etc.
posted by The Michael The to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Be sure to read through David Lebovitz's site.
posted by la petite marie at 12:11 PM on August 3, 2011

I love love love Le Pamphlet.
posted by cyndigo at 12:15 PM on August 3, 2011

I think these people generally know what they are talking about.

eGullet and Chowhound will also be helpful.
posted by JPD at 12:17 PM on August 3, 2011

I really enjoyed Les Cocottes a few months back. It was not even remotely stuffy, and the service was incredibly friendly. The meals were classic French with a bit of a twist (via the cocottes/casseroles gimmick) with some regional specials. I happened to sit next to two other American foodies who adored their meals as well. You could feel comfortable there dressed casually (though no jeans/sneakers) or dressier.

For dessert, the waffle with Chantilly and salted caramel sauce. Oh, I'm hungry now...

They don't take reservations and you have to get there right at 7 if you don't want to wait. Despite being very close to the Eiffel Tower, it's not terribly touristy. I'd recommend dinner at 7, then Eiffel Tower after so you can see it at night.
posted by dayintoday at 12:23 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Maybe it's touristy, but Laduree for pastries (and especially) hot chocolate.
posted by cnc at 12:25 PM on August 3, 2011

My favorite meal in Paris last March was at Le Pré Verre. It's a "bistronomique" in the 5e; the prix fixe is 29.50 EUR. I had a spectacular tarmarind seared duck.
posted by quadrilaterals at 12:25 PM on August 3, 2011

2nd'ing "Les Cocottes." Dining highlight of honeymoon in Paris w/ my wife.
posted by BobbyVan at 12:55 PM on August 3, 2011

Vacationed in Paris earlier this summer, and had 2 really, really great meals that, I would say, fulfill your criteria.

La Maison du Jardin (27, rue de Vaugirard. tel. 01 45 48 22 31)


Caveau du Palais (17, place Dauphin. tel. 01 43 26 04 28)
posted by alchemist at 1:36 PM on August 3, 2011

I just came back from Paris for part of my honeymoon (2 weeks ago), we went out to a nicer place three of the nights we stayed there.

Bistro 7eme (on Rue La Tour Mauborg) for traditional classic French cuisine
- I ordered a version of steak frites (filet mignon cut with fries). My wife ordered escargot as an entree and some classic casserole dish as her plat. This, unsurprisingly, is in the 7th arrondissement.

Le Colimaçon for more of a gastronomical evening. More creative entrees and plats while maintaining a piece of classic French cuisine. One of our dishes was foie gras mixed with sweetbreads, wrapped in rabbit, wrapped in bacon, coated with a savory jus. It was pretty decadent. This restaurant was about a 10 minute walk from the Bastille metro stop, located in The Marais.

Les Papilles (at 30 Rue Gay-Lussac) for a price-fix menu. Dinner is actually menu-fixe, but was delicious. Gazpacho, a duck stew, cheese and prune jam sampling platter, followed by a fruit-custard dessert. For a variety of price ranges, they tell you to select a bottle of wine from their rack which takes up the majority of one of the main walls in the restaurant. Quite good. This is located near the Sorbonne in the Latin Quarter. Get reservations.

These meals cost anywhere between 70-120 Euros, but we splurged a little bit. Paris is expensive.

We also looked into a number of the restaurants you mention in the original posting, but found a number of them were booked (get reservations well ahead of the time you leave), have very specific reservation times (tuesdays between 3-5pm in the afternoon), or were under renovations. If you find a highly popular place online, get reservations before you go.
posted by seppyk at 1:41 PM on August 3, 2011

Delighted to hear Caveau du Palais is still agreeable. I haven't been in about three years, but it was hands down my favourite traditional Parisian restaurant. Bistro menu, lovely comfortable room, great place.
posted by Nelson at 2:11 PM on August 3, 2011

L'As du Fallafel (4ème arr.)
posted by djb at 2:48 PM on August 3, 2011

Google Machon D'Henri. So good! So unpretentious!
posted by Majorita at 2:59 PM on August 3, 2011

I just finished living in Paris for a year and a half. Here are some of my favorite places.

Crêperie Josselin (Montparnasse): It's in an area with lots of really great crêperies, but this is the one that always has a line out front (it moves fast though). The dinner crepes (technically gallettes) are all great, and for dessert I especially recommend the caramel au beurre salé.

Chez Gladines (the Buttes aux Cailles, 13th arrondissement, near Place d'Italie): Fantastic basque food, with very big portion sizes at reasonable prices. There are always people hanging around outside drinking the cheap alcohol from here and the cous-cous restaurant across the street. You may have to wait a while to get a table (no reservations) so hanging out outside with them and drinking is one way to pass the time. The neighborhood itself is really cool (there's some really impressive graffiti-art on the streets) and has lots of cool bars (one worth going to is called "Sputnik"; it has a soviet propaganda theme) to hang out in.

Cave de L'Os a Möelle (15th arrondissement, near Lourmel metro): A wine store by day, excellent self-serve, all-you-can-eat family-style restaurant by night (I believe dinner runs about 25€, but double check to be sure). There are two seatings (I think 7pm and 9:30), and you may need to make reservations in advance, especially for weekends. When you drink their wine, you pay wine-store prices with no corking fee. You may share a table with complete strangers, but this has always ended up interesting for me.

Le Baron Rouge 1 (Rue Théophile Roussel 75012 Paris, France): I only discovered this place when my sister and her husband visited me (it was recommended by one of their friends). It's a cool little wine bar in a little neighborhood with lots of other cool stuff nearby. They have wine in barrels and will fill any container with wine for you; a bottle's worth runs less than 3 euros, and they'll supply you with one of their one for a 50 cent deposit. My sister and her husband went there a couple times (there's also a little café catty-corner from there that apparently has awesome beef tartar, although that's not really my thing).

La Jacobine (near Odéon metro): If it ends up being cool enough for hot chocolate (unlikely in July, but you never know) I highly recommend stopping by this tea-house. Angelina (near Tuileries) is much more famous for their hot chocolate, and although it has better decor, I think La Jacobine's "Chocolat Azteque" is slightly better than Angelina's "Chocolat l'Africain" (it's cheaper too). The hot chocolate at both places is so rich and think you feel like you're drinking a bar of melted chocolate (which is probably close to the truth), but in a good way. The rest of the menu at La Jacobine has gotten mixed reviews from my friends who've eaten there, though.
posted by Dr. Eigenvariable at 3:12 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Restaurant Chartier
01 47 70 86 29

"Chartier is a true Parisian experience. At peak hours the place is a hive of activity, the waiters are rude, the bathrooms are messy but the food is worth it. The decor is from La Belle Epoque."

It's many years since I was in Paris (when I ate there almost all the time), but Chartier sounds like it's still unique, well worth a visit, and doesn't cost much.
posted by anadem at 4:13 PM on August 3, 2011

I liked La Regalade, Chez l'Ami Jean and Le Comptoir when I was there last.
posted by odeon at 4:30 PM on August 3, 2011

"Chartier is a true Parisian experience. At peak hours the place is a hive of activity, the waiters are rude, the bathrooms are messy but the food is worth it. The decor is from La Belle Epoque."

Yes, exactly. I've been there before. This is the type of place to which I don't want to go.
posted by The Michael The at 4:33 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Absolutely do not go to Crêperie Josselin -- it's an absolute tourist trap and treats its customers like trash. Here is a review I wrote for TripAdvisor on the subject - you'll understand why I hate the place.
posted by teedee2000 at 8:50 PM on August 3, 2011

Try the small but delightful, l'Ourcine. Tripadvisor review. Time Out Paris review.
posted by rumbles at 9:10 PM on August 3, 2011

There was a restaurant called Claude et Claudine in the 18th but it looks like it's been taken over by foodies or something and is now called Le Miroir. A TimeOut review. Could be promising...
posted by fiercekitten at 9:19 PM on August 3, 2011

Actually, looking at the map made me realize that it was actually Claude et Nicole on Rue Trois Freres, which has also been taken over but it seems it's still quaint and now called L'Annexe. I guess Montmartre is overflowing with restaurants.
Here's a tripadvisor review
posted by fiercekitten at 10:42 PM on August 3, 2011

My favourite meal in Paris was at
Autour d'un Verre,
21 Rue de Trévise, Paris (9th)
Tel: 01 48 24 43 74
I think it fits your bill nicely - excellent food, no pretension, a diverse wine list. Two courses was 32 euro, if I remember correctly and I was too full to even consider dessert.
posted by unlaced at 7:37 AM on August 4, 2011

One million times seconding 'Les Papilles'. A chowhound favourite, and my favourite 'bang-for-the-buck' fine dining resto in the world.
posted by evadery at 11:38 AM on August 4, 2011

My favorite meals there last spring were: Traditional, meaty, fun and bustling: Biche au Bois- only open weekday evenings - make reservations - Amazing dinner for 2 for around 80 euros.

This one was more formal and expensive, very gracious (but not ridiculously so on all three counts) and it made the vegetarian happy too: Maceo
posted by cindywho at 12:45 PM on August 4, 2011

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